Fun Fitness/Calorie Calculator

Hi All!

I’ve found a fun fitness/calorie calculator that I thought you might like to try. It’s at www.FitWatch.com.

If you scroll down the page, there’s an area where you add your weight and then below that, the exercise you do every day. Once you input the type and minutes of exercise, it calculates how many calories you expended. It’s a fun tool if for no other reason than it will give you a reality check!!

Very often we do a short 1/2 hour work out and then are sure that’s enough to make up for the Big Mac we’re about to eat. Think again!! Depending on what you’re doing, it could mean tripling that exercise. It might make you think twice before you scarf back that burger!

Let me know what you think!

To Your Health!

Tracy

To get directly to the calculator, go to: http://www.fitwatch.com/planner/workoutplanner.html

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Another Reason To Hit the Fitness Trail!

Hi All!

My friend, Cindy Robinson, sent me a news article from the Globe & Mail and I thought I’d pass the highlights on to you.

It was written by Celia Milne and called “Why Exercising Outdoors is Better than Hitting the Gym”.

Now before I start, let me say that this article does NOT mean that I endorse skipping the gym altogether!! The gym is a great place to get everything done fast in one space and, as a Fitness Instructor (Cindy too!), I can’t help but have a soft spot for a good ol’ fashioned aerobics class. But there are some obvious advantages to being out-of-doors…

1. According to Dr. Alan Logan, a naturopath who is co-writing a book with Harvard doctor Eva Selhub, called Your Brain, On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Health, Happiness and Your Mojo,

“Green exercise represents a low-cost way to lower stress and recharge the mental batteries. The health implications extend from depression and diabetes to workplace stress and cognitive decline of older adulthood.”

Other researchers from all over the world agree and have been studying the phenomenon of “green exercise” for some time.

A British study published this year in the journal Environmental Science and Technology concluded:

“Exercising in nature afforded people a greater feeling of revitalization and positive energy, as well as decreasing tension, confusion, anger and depression.”

In another study, the cruel folks at theUniversity of Michigan intentionally tired out 38 students with a bunch of cognitive tests and then had them immediately take a 50-minute walk in nature or through the concrete jungle. Those who walked in green space, performed better cognitively than those walking the concrete.

The study suggests that maybe downtown office workers should be encouraged to find a small patch of nature at lunch to walk in to improve their cognitive function. (Of course, city planners need to do their bit too.)

And from the other side of the world, recent Japanese studies show similar results. One study published in the journal Public Health this year found that

“being in green space had a positive and measurable effect on both the nervous system and the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the saliva of subjects”.

Other Japanese studies have found benefits from “shinrin-yoku” or forest-air bathing plus walking. A study published in 2010 found that forest bathing trips actually boosted immune function and kept it elevated for as much as 30 days while another found it to be an effective treatment for diabetes.

Back here in Canada, Kim Bergeron, who is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University inKingston, says it best,

“If we are not around vibrant, living things, it affects our psychological, social and physical being.”

So the question is, Are YOU getting outside everyday? It’s summer, so it’s easy to say emphatically YES!! But what about when the winter turns cool and then cold?

Then it takes discipline and a commitment to our health. And that brings me to my final note:

I want to congratulate all of those people who participated in the Ottawa Race Weekend. Especially my good friends Fran and Val from Carleton who finished their first marathon in 4 hours and 22 minutes.  And Cindy Robinson did an amazing 2:08 on her 1/2 marathon.

 While the race happens in May, they have been out for months in all kinds of weather training. It looks like they’ve been training their brains, their spirits and their bodies all at once!!

To Your Health!

Tracy

To view the entire article go to: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/healthy-living/why-exercising-outdoors-is-better-than-hitting-the-gym/article2011166/ 

The book written by Drs. Logan and Selhub will be available in the Spring of 2012 and published by John Wiley (Toronto).

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Get Inspired, Get Healthy!

Hi All!

This is the National Capital Race Weekend! I’m so excited! I have two friends, Val and Fran who are running the marathon for the first time. I will be with them in spirit every step of the way.

This year I’m not running, but I’m kind of happy to be on the sidelines cheering others on. It’s so inspiring! I’ve seen children and people over 80 running the marathon and I can’t help but think, “If they can do it, so can anyone!”

If you’ve always ignored race weekend (at best) or fumed over the road closures (at worst), why not try to participate in it and feel the excitement? It doesn’t have to be the marathon. Try the 10 or 5 km. If you’re scared to death to try, find a child and do the kids 2 km. You’ll feel like you did the marathon!

Good luck to everyone running this weekend–I’ll catch up next year!

To Your Health!

Tracy

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Never Think of Food Again?

Hi All!

We were talking on our previous visit about the most difficult challenges you face along the fitness trail. From the comments and from what I know as a fitness instructor, most people struggle at some point in their life with their weight.

For many, it’s a constant struggle. I honestly haven’t had to struggle too much with my weight. As long as I ate really well and exercised, I seemed to stay stable.

But then I lost my job in March and my stress level went through the roof. I found myself ravenously hungry at night–I mean so hungry that I could not sleep until I ate something. The weight started to creep up. I felt completely out of control for the first time regarding my weight.

Since March, I’ve been eating incredibly well but weight that would slip off before, was now staying put!! For the first time in my life, I knew what other people felt like that struggled daily with their weight.

My sister, Erin, and I have been discussing this matter lately and decided we don’t want to struggle. We don’t want to be thinking about every morsel we put in our mouths (“is this going to go directly to my hips”). To not ‘jones’ for something sweet or salty. We want the joy of eating to nourish our bodies and that’s it. We want to think of food and move on.

This is a tall order for my sister since she’s a Type 1 diabetic, which means she has to constantly monitor what she eats.  But is there a way to do it so it’s just another moment in life? Not “oh geez, if I eat this cinnamon bun I’m going to have to take 8 shots of insulin!”

I don’t know. That’s my answer. But I do have a couple of clues that helped me and might help you. AND maybe you have ideas that can help Erin and I on our quest!!

1. When things are normal, I think a healthy diet is the way to go all the time if I want to beat the cycle. That is, when I crave sugar in the form of a donut, firstly I need to understand that a craving doesn’t last. It will pass. Ignoring it could make it disappear. OR I could reach for a piece of fruit, which will make it pass quicker. Getting rid of refined sugars in my diet makes me feel better. But it needs to be always out of my diet to overcome the strong pull of sugar. And, of course, when I’m not filling myself with sugar and unhealthy carbs, I have room for eating whole grains, lots of veggies and lean proteins. When I do that, I don’t get hungry very often and I, therefore, don’t crave unhealthy foods.

2. When I’m stressed (ie not normal), I need to adjust. I was caught off guard. I had no idea that stress could affect my appetite so much. In the last month, I’ve focussed on releasing stress. This seems to be helping my weight come down AND I’m not focussed so much on food. If you’re overweight, it might not have anything to do with what you eat or how you exercise. The main culprit just might be stress.

I don’t know if these two things will make me never think of food again, but I know I’m not thinking of sweets much any more. I know when I eat a really healthy diet (all the food groups, 6 small meals a day), I’m not hungry. And, finally, I know that working on my stress level has alleviated some of the thoughts about food.

What strategies do you use to overcome food challenges, like cravings, overeating, night eating, etc.?

To Your Health!

Tracy

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!!

Hi Everyone!

I thought I’d start my brand new blog with a description of what this blog is about and then give you a question to mull over and, hopefully, respond to.

Along The Fitness Trail is a metaphor for our lives. We are all moving along a trail that we hope will lead to our happy place—to the best lives we can lead.

Sometimes we move quickly, sometimes irritatingly slowly, sometimes we need to be pulled along by others, sometimes we are off the trail altogether.

This blog is meant to be a place where you can see that, as humans, we all fall off the mind, body and soul fitness trail—we’re too tired to work out, we over-eat, let ourselves get way too stressed and so on. What’s terrific about a blog is that, for better or worse, you are never alone. And, there is not an experience along the trail that someone else hasn’t had.

It’s from this collective experience that we can help one another stay on the trail–whether that’s setting fitness goals, finding ways to de-stress, getting health resources or maybe even finding a buddy that shares your interests.

Along the Fitness Trail I’ll share some of my experiences as a Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Self-Help Facilitator and Communications Specialist. Whatever your expertises and interests are, please share them too.

In the meantime, let’s get this show on the trail with this question:

Along the Fitness Trail, what has been your most frustrating long-term challenge?

Share your comments below. I’m betting we all have a lot in common!!

To Your Health!

Tracy

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